On May 31, 2008, members of the Triangle Indie Film Meetup Group gathered to film our entry in the Flicker film festival's annual "Attack of the 50-foot Reels" program. This was our group's second "Attack" film and my third.
I registered our film project in the morning, picked up our loaner Super 8 camera and film, and then met the other participants for lunch and a run-through of our very sketchy plans for the shoot. We met and planned to shoot at the American Tobacco Historic District in Durham, NC, a beautiful setting across from the Durham Bulls ballpark. Everyone brought their ideas -- some brought armfuls of wonderful wardrobe items and props -- and each person dressed as their own original character based on their imagination and the theme of this year's Attack: "Hot Hot Hot." We went around the table and introduced our "selves," and then set about weaving all our characters into a three-minute Super 8 film.
This kind of shoot is especially tricky because there is no editing available - everything is done in camera, and what you shoot is what you get, or, more precisely, what you will watch with a festival crowd in about 4-5 weeks. But to add an extra dimension of difficulty, when we started shooting on the grounds of the American Tobacco Historic District, we started getting hassled by the security guards, who were there in greater numbers due to the ball game that evening. They seemed nervous about our little Super 8 camera on a tripod, and they told us we did not have permission to shoot on their "property."
The ATHD is a public space that was developed in part with taxpayer funding, so it surprised me that this was even an issue. We had limited success in stalling the rent-a-cops and telling them we were about to wrap up, but then the security manager arrived to personally fuss at us. Arrest threats were made, and some of our crew were spooked, so we decided to move off-site and finish the shoot in downtown Durham. I think the move actually helped our cinematography as we got a larger swath of Durham in our picture. Some storm clouds rolled in, which lent a darker, grittier look to the end of our picture.
All in all, it was a fun day, and we ended it with a crew party at the Flicker headquarters just a few blocks away.
Thanks to everyone in the Triangle Indie Film Meetup Group who brought their ideas and energy and participated in making this film. Thanks also to Jessye, Nicole, and Flicker Chapel Hill. The soundtrack is "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys, and the film is loosely inspired by the Spike Jonze video that accompanied that song back in the '90s. Enjoy!